How to fix Windows errors, BSODs, and other troubleshooting
This guide is aimed at people who are having errors, random crashes, blue screen of death errors (BSOD), driver problems/updating drivers, RAM testing, and more in Windows 10 (it may also work in Win7 and Win8-8.1).
Some of this may need to be run in safe mode if you are getting constant BSOD errors or random crashes. If that's the case, in Windows 10 you can go to your [Cortana] search and type "Safe Mode", click Change advanced start up options. When that window appears, you'll click Restart Now. When it restarts, it will ask you what mode you want. I like to use Safe Mode with Networking so I can download and install things AND you'll be able to continue to read through the tutorial while doing so.
Monitor your system for overheating issues
This is a great place to start. You can see if a component is overheating, what processes are running in the background, and more (you can overclock from this, but I would caution against this if you are having issues and reading this).
- Download NZXT Cam
- Install the program
- Launch the program
- The first screen will show you the temperatures for your CPU and GPU, the load for each, RAM load, if you are downloading/uploading (without your knowledge), your HDD storage capacity, and what your top processes are.
- If you are having an overheating issue, this is going to catch it. You can go into your settings to launch the overlay while you are gaming to see what your temps are while you are stressing your computer (or if you are video editing, etc. anything strenuous to the system). If it is overheating, you can check a few things:
- Make sure your computer is in a well ventilated area. If it isn't, you'll need to move it.
- [Computer off] Check to make sure you don't have a bunch of dust building up within the system, fans, and filters. I highly recommend having this electronic duster or some canned air.
- Check to see if your fans are all working. If you have one or more that aren't, I suggest this fan. It's quiet and pushes air nicely.
- If all the above is good and you getting CPU overheating, you will need to probably replace the thermal paste. If you don't have any, this is a good one.
- [Computer off] If your GPU is overheating, pull it out and double check to make sure there is no dust build up on the fans.
Evaluating Blue Screen of Death errors
There are numerous ways to go about this and even a program later on can help but I have found this to be the easiest way to read the dump files.
- Download BlueScreenView
- You'll likely need to extract it using WinZip or Winrar
- Run BlueScreenView.exe
- Look under Bug Check Screen column as well as Caused By Driver
- You will have to google what it is showing, in most cases, it will be an outdated driver. Depending on what it is, you can scroll through the guide to figure out what it may be.
If you suspect an issue with your RAM or you just installed new RAM, I highly recommend you run this! I recommend running this at night or during a time you won't use your computer. My recent memtest took around 12 hours and I have 16gb of RAM.
- Make sure you have a flash drive you aren't using and is at least 500mb or larger. 500mb drive may not work, I have a 1gb dedicated for the memtest. While this drive is 16gb, it's one of the cheaper yet quality ones I could find for you guys.
- Download Memtest
- Extract it and run the imageUSB.exe
- Make sure your flash drive is plugged in. It should auto detect that it is there. Click the check box for it and click "Write"
- Shut down your computer once that is finished, start it back up again, and get to your boot menu (usually smashing F8 when it is booting back up). Once the boot menu pops up, click the USB drive (and it should say UEFI next to it.
- Don't touch anything once it loads memtest as it will take about 7-10 seconds to automatically start testing your RAM.
- Hopefully it doesn't return any errors and you can move on to looking for something else that is the cause of the issues. If it returns issues, then you will need to either return that RAM, if it's under warranty then file a warranty claim, or buy new sticks of RAM.
Update your drivers for FREE
While this may not be the easiest way to update drivers, as a bunch of [premium] driver programs can scan and update the drivers with a single click, I personally like having to download all of them so I can reference back to them in the future when I reformat my computer.
- Go to DriversCloud and click Install
- When it installs, you should have the program pop up with a DETECT button, click it.
- Once it is done, a browser window (typically Edge if you have it installed) will pop up. Click My Drivers in the upper right corner.
- I just noticed that they offer a "install" button on their drivers page to run this program to install the drivers. I've not done this but you can try it and tell me if it allows you to update all at once. Otherwise, scroll down and you should see a list of drivers you need to install.
- Click each one and download them
- Once they are all downloaded, you can install them one by one. If one tells you to restart, just say "not now" and continue installing the rest.
- Once they are all installed, restart into normal mode.
Hard drive tests and other fixes
If all of the above do not help, you can try running a program that looks for problems throughout your computer, the registry, pathways, etc. Download Windows Repair and go through the prompts. One of the steps (I think step 4) is to run a Chkdsk. Use the option to run it on next restart and restart your computer. Warning, this can take a long time. I have 3 hdds in my computer, 2x5tb and 1 500gb SSD and it took about 16 hours.
After the Chkdsk finishes, go through the rest of the options and fixes in Windows Repair program.
Hopefully after all of that, the errors disappear and your system stabilizes. If it doesn't, you can then venture into my how to clean your computer for free tutorial thread and run through the steps. It will help clear out junk files, clean out your registry for unused stuff, and detect and remove malware/viruses. I hope that between these 2 guides, you now have a computer running better than it has in a while!
However, if none of this works and you can't find a solution anywhere else, it's probably time to do a reformat. So back up all your necessary files and begin a fresh Windows install. Hopefully you have properly stored those drivers you just downloaded so it should be an easy upgrade. IF this is the path you are having to take, I suggest going to Ninite to get a free program that you can load up with all the programs you typically install and make the process much easier for yourself.
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